Cryotherapy, also known as cold therapy, is a type of treatment commonly used to heal sports related injuries. The doctor places ice or another type of cold application on the location of the injury to offer the individual pain relief and other benefits. Physicians often use cryotherapy treatment for sports injury as initial first aid to help reduce symptoms such as inflammation, pain and swelling. They also use cryotherapy along with heat therapy after the initial injury stage has passed.
The Different Ways Doctors Apply Cryotherapy
There are several different ways that doctors and patients can apply the many various forms of cryotherapy. The type of cold therapy that the doctor chooses will be dependent on the location of the injury as well as the type of injury.
Most people are familiar with the ice pack. This is simply a container that holds crushed or chipped ice. Some of the commonly used containers are plastic bags, ice bags and towels. Ice packs are typically more efficient that frozen gel packs because ice packs stay cooler longer.
An ice bath is another effective cryotherapy treatment for sports injury. An ice bath consists of a large container filled with ice. It is the best method to treat bony areas of the body.
Other cryotherapy methods include:
- Ice massages
- Gel packs
- Cold packs
- Coolant sprays
This type of therapy has proven to be beneficial right after an injury has occurred and during rehab. Pain relief is the most noticeable advantage to using cold therapy. Doctors do not know the exact reason why cryotherapy reduces pain. However, physicians think it is due to:
- Raising the pain threshold
- Releasing endorphins
- Reducing nerve transmission
- The sensation of the cold is greater than the sensation of the pain
Another effect of cryotherapy is the reduction of swelling and bleeding. Once the skin’s surface has cooled, the blood vessels become narrow. The reduced blood flow lessens swelling in the area. The decrease in swelling allows the muscle to move more and reduces the loss of function in the injured area.
Cryotherapy treatment for sports injury, not to be confused with heat therapy, can be very effective in healing certain injuries. Make sure to not overcool the area, and schedule an appointment with a chiropractor to learn about cold therapy methods that may benefit you.
Acute sports injuries can cause the loss of function in a body part that is not properly treated. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Renee White of Champion Chiropractic and discover how cryotherapy for sports injuries can help you heal.